The Rolex Submariner 5512 with its box and papers. It sold for £175,000 in Wiltshire.

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The winning bid (£210,000 including premium), in the middle of expectations, was tendered by a buyer in Hong Kong.

The 5512 with Explorer 3-6-9 dial was produced only for a short period in the early 1960s. Very few survive with their factory dials as these were routinely replaced whenever ‘tool’ watches were returned to Rolex for servicing.

David Hare, director of Gardiner Houlgate in Corsham, said: “This is the holy grail of vintage watches. There are so few of these left in their original condition. This particular watch has a version of the dial that experts call a ‘Crown-62’ variation, which makes it even rarer.”


The Rolex Submariner 5512, bought for around £70 by its original owner in 1964.

Although a hugely coveted model, Gardiner Houlgate has now sold nine examples of the Submariner 5512, including another of this variant that made £192,000 in 2016.

The watch sold on October 21 had been bought by the vendor’s father – a medical attendant at the former Shirebrook Col liery in Mansfield – to celebrate his 40th birthday in 1964. It cost around £70 from Watches of Switzerland in Ludgate Hill, London.

It retains its original boxes, guarantee and service booklet.